Benzell, Mimi, American soprano; b. Bridgeport, Conn., April 6, 1922; d. Manhasset, Long Island, N.Y., Dec. 23, 1970. Her grandfather was a singer of Jewish folk songs in Russia before his emigration to America. She studied at Hunter Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. and with Olga Eisner at the Mannes Coll. of Music in N.Y. In 1944 she made her operatic debut in Mexico City. On Dec. 3, 1944, she made her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in N.Y. in a concert, and then returned there to make her formal operatic debut as the Queen of the Night on Jan. 5, 1945; she remained on its roster until 1949. In subsequent years she pursued a career as a singer of popular music, winning her greatest success in the Broadway musical Milk and Honey (1961–63).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire